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Columns by Fred Reed

On Generals Testifying Before Congress
Fred Reed 2008-04-14 16:00
Whenever I see that some dismal general will testify to Congress regarding the war against Iraq, I imagine the first paragraph of his Power Point presentation: 'All metrics show a downsurge in the violence in Iraq, and a continuing improvement in indicators of the production of a better life. Next slide. The Iranians are aiding the enemies of America, and must be bombed. This is a recording.'
A Dog to Its Vomit
Fred Reed 2008-03-12 17:00
Common delusions notwithstanding, the United States, I submit, is not a democracy'by which is meant a system in which the will of the people prevails. Rather it is a curious mechanism artfully designed to circumvent the will of the people while appearing to be democratic. Several mechanisms accomplish this.
A Dog to Its Vomit
Fred Reed 2007-08-23 16:00
August 24, 2007 I have just returned from two weeks in Washington and find myself almost giggling with despair, or perhaps chortling at the madness. I need a bottle of Padre Kino, maybe laced with Haldol.
A New Improved America
Fred Reed 2007-05-22 16:00
Something is wrong with the United States. I think most of us have noticed it. There is a mortal rot in the country, made manifest by many little rots that are hard to integrate mentally yet are, I think, somehow related. The change is grave, accelerating, probably irreversible, and fascinating. Things are not as they were.
The Avoidance of Honor
Fred Reed 2007-04-17 16:00
It amuses me to hear people talking about their 'honor,' when they don't have any and it probably doesn't exist. If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, honor is the first. Actually, as character defects they are about equally reprehensible.
The Ganglia of Four
Fred Reed 2007-03-26 16:00
Methinks we don't'think, I mean, about anything outside our immediate visual horizon. Thinking is a poor way of understanding the world, which is too complex to be thought about effectively. That leaves hormones and unfortunate limbic wiring.
Reflections on a Solemn Ass
Fred Reed 2007-03-14 17:00
I usually regard liberals and conservatives as equally but not identically reprehensible, rather like the complementary halves of a migraine headache. Some differences do stand out. Peculiar to conservatives is a certain tribalism, often accompanied by subclinical paranoia. They seem to be looking fearfully about as the wolves circle closer. It doesn't matter whether there actually are any wolves.
Fred: A True Son of Tzu
Fred Reed 2007-01-24 17:00
Being a military thinker of the profoundest sort, I offer the following manual of martial affairs for nations yearning to copy the American way of war. Read it carefully. Great clarity will result. The steps limned below will facilitate disaster without imposing the burden of reinventing it. The Pentagon may print copies for distribution.
It Floats
Fred Reed 2006-12-17 17:00
It's all but official: The war in Iraq is lost. Report after leaked report says so. Everybody in Washington knows it except that draft-dodging ferret in the White House. Politicians scurry to avoid the blame. One day soon people will ask aloud: How did we let 3000 GIs die for the weak ego of a pampered liar and his desperate need to prove he's half the man his father was? The troops from now on...
A Bush in Need of Pruning
Fred Reed 2006-10-11 16:00
I miss the days of smoke-filled rooms when crooked pols chose corrupt presidential candidates who were approximately sane. Today we have a sort of presidential bus-station lottery. We choose as ruler any beer-hall putz who can shake hands and grin his way successfully through New Hampshire. This, plus the deep rot of the American political framework, is allowing the rapid conversion of the United...
"Not Today, Sir."
Fred Reed 2006-10-01 16:00
When, one wonders, will mutiny begin among the troops in Iraq? Recently I talked by email about the war with Jim Coyne, an airborne-infantry friend who served two tours as a gunship door-gunner in Viet Nam and then made a career in journalism. I asked, 'Do they [I meant the officer corps, the official military] actually believe the optimistic twaddle this time around? Do they really not know what...
What's Fred Smoking?
Fred Reed 2006-09-24 16:00
Letters pour in from desperate readers (or would if they did) saying, 'Fred, explain America today. Say something tendentious and irritating about what is going on in this curious country. Why do we do what we do? Sock it to us.' All right.
Julius Streicher, Catharine MacKinnon, Jesse Jackson, And David Duke
Fred Reed 2006-08-17 16:00
I found myself some time ago under social circumstances in a group that included an angry radical feminist, which is to say a radical feminist. Out of nowhere that I remember, she announced, 'Men are sexist pigs.' Such assertions are par for the species.
Conservation of Parody
Fred Reed 2006-08-07 16:00
I'm wondering. Help me wonder. Either Georgie Bush is the minor, depressing, witless ferret I think he is, or I am. It has to be one or the other. If things don't start looking up pretty soon internationally, I'm going to be pretty sure which.
A Modest Proposal to Abolish Universities
Fred Reed 2006-07-24 16:00
I think it is time to close the universities, and perhaps prosecute the professoriat under the RICO act as a corrupt and racketeering-influenced organization. Universities these days have the moral character of electronic churches, and as little educational value. They are an embarrassment to civilization. I know this. I am sitting in my office in Jocotepec, consorting with a bottle of Padre Kino...
On Recent Wars
Fred Reed 2006-05-17 16:00
People ask how we got into our splendid mess in Iraq and why we can't get out. The question is a subset of a larger question: Why, since WWII, have so many first-world armies gotten into drawn-out guerrilla wars in bush-world countries, and lost? Examples abound: France in Vietnam, America in Vietnam, France in Algeria, Russia in Afghanistan, Israel in Lebanon, etc. Why don't they learn? The...
In Search of Darkness
Fred Reed 2006-02-16 17:00
The other day I found myself trapped next to the lobotomy box in the house of a friend. The show was one of those dismal productions based on sexual innuendo, the sort that I would have found titillating when I was eleven. The format was not complex. Neither, I suspect, was the audience. Several shapeless young couples sat together.
A Colony Again
Fred Reed 2006-01-18 17:00
I'm going to start a rickshaw factory. It's so our kids will have a way to make a living, now that America is pulling out of the First World. Maybe I'll put an iPod socket on the poles or a little tiny television, made in Japan. That way our puzzled offspring won't inadvertently start thinking. Tradition provides an anchor in the circumambient chaos. See, what's going to happen is, all the...
Thoughts Unthunk, Mostly
Fred Reed 2005-12-13 17:00
I am persuaded that the gravest catastrophes to afflict this misguided planet were the inventions of agriculture, clean water, and antibiotics. Without these pernicious conceptions our squalid race might consist of a few millions of savages picking bananas and slaughtering the occasional bison. I do not say this in criticism of savages. Theirs was a reasonable existence. I like bananas, which...
Getting Apart
Fred Reed 2005-12-08 17:00
Explain it to me, diversity. I don't get it. Everyone in the feddle gummint and all the news weasels and the academia nuts and assorted distasteful do-gooders with goiterous self-admiration are always honking and blowing about how we need diversity. Why? What is it good for? I think we need homogeneity. Probably the greatest desire of humanity other than getting sex is avoiding diversity....
Soldiers and Reporters
Fred Reed 2005-12-04 17:00
Much email comes my way, from military folk both current and retired, assuring me that the press consists of leftist commy anti-American liberal tree-hugging cowardly backstabbers who probably like the French and would date Jane Fonda. It is an old song. Having spent decades covering the armed forces, I have seen much of the Pentagon and the press. Things are a tad more complex. A few thoughts...
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers
Fred Reed 2005-10-23 16:00
I begin to think that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers constitute a public nuisance, and need to be stuffed down an abandoned oil well. And indicted for fraud. We could dangle a microphone down the well on a wire so that they could testify. These tiresome biddies aren't against drunk driving, which anyone with a possum's brains is against. Your dangerous drunks are incorrigibles who time and...
Diving Into the Third World
Fred Reed 2005-10-04 16:00
I'm thinking about turning into a Marxist. Ol' Karl used to talk about these irresistible currents of history that just swept you along and you couldn't do anything about'em, like the current that swept communism mostly out of existence. (He may have had some other currents in mind.) I'm looking at what's happening in the US. It's gotta be an irresistible current. It couldn't be on purpose...
A Grand Adventure
Fred Reed 2005-09-19 16:00
A friend recently asked me what I would tell a young man thinking about enlisting in the military. (He had in mind his son.) I would tell him this, which I wish someone had told me: Kid, you are being suckered. You are being used. You need to think carefully before signing that enlistment contract. First, notice that the men who want to send you to die were draft-dodgers. President...
Vienna and Chicago: Friends or Foes?
Fred Reed 2005-09-15 16:00
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION In late September, 1994, Henri Lepage asked me to address the Mont Pelerin Society in Cannes, France. The title was "I Like Hayek," an appreciation of the principal founder of the Society in 1947. I thought the subject would be well received, but I was mistaken. Over a dozen attendees lined up to take issue with my favorable comments about Hayek's capital theory and...
Looking for Commies in China
Fred Reed 2005-09-12 16:00
Guadalajara' Just finished the last bag-drag back from China, jet-lagged, brain fried on caffeine, edgy groggy. Maybe I'll kill something. Or hibernate. What province am I in? Why do these Mexicans have round eyes? It's not natural. Some thoughts, barely: I couldn't find the commies. Conservatives, who apparently preserve their minds in amber at birth, ramble on about Communist...
These Are Interesting Times
Fred Reed 2005-08-15 16:00
Washington, DC' It's getting stranger, I tell you. Riding the subway from Vienna Station to Franconia-Springfield, at every stop the woman driving the train said in an over-elocuted voice, 'A-ten-tion, customers. This is a Metro Safety Tip. Pay attention to your surroundings. Look up from your newspapers and blackbirds [it sounded like, though nobody seemed to be carrying any sort of bird...
Who Is Running This Choo-Choo Train?
Fred Reed 2005-06-19 16:00
The crumbling has begun, methinks. Congressmen, a few only now, speak of withdrawal from Iraq. A small thing, but for the White House a worrisome step toward vertebracy in that body of polyps. The numbers of the dissenting will grow as they see that they do not get hurt. Military recruiting is way down, and will stay down: The gullibility of the young cannot forever be relied upon. The House has...
A Continent of Clowns
Fred Reed 2005-06-06 16:00
'WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bursting into tears, eighth-grader Anurag Kashyap of California became the U.S. spelling champ Thursday . . . . Tied for second place were 11-year-old Samir Patel, who is home-schooled in Colleyville, Texas, and Aliya Deri, 13, a Pleasanton, California, student.' Indian kids have won first place in five of the last seven years. Might be there's a pattern here? Nah. A...
A Matter of Allegiance
Fred Reed 2005-05-30 16:00
I wish to propose a salubrious anarchy, a deliberate renunciation of fealty to country, society, and government, an assertion of independence from folly and moral decay. Permit me to offer a taxing political idea: When a society ceases to be worthy of support, it is reasonable to withdraw support. The time, I submit, has come.
Rednecks: The Virtues Thereof
Fred Reed 2005-05-22 16:00
There is a lot of snot and malice about rednecks on the internet. Most of it comes from such cornflowers and honeysuckles as college professors, other witless suburban nonentities, and assorted twits in cities. By 'redneck,' these bundles of intellectual lingerie seem to mean anyone without a college degree who can hang a door or lube his car. One of them, some sort of biochemical rascal, figured...
Fred to Save Country
Fred Reed 2005-05-17 16:00
One reads much about the poor in America, their piteous lives, their blighted hopes, and the unrelieved downtreading of them by various social ogres such as oppressive corporations who sell them greasy hamburgers. (Why does my wretched spell-checker object to 'downtreading'? You can't be downtrodden unless someone downtreads you. How obvious is that?)
Fred to Save Country
Fred Reed 2005-05-11 16:00
It has become apparent that I am going to have to reform the government of the United States. Frankly I'd rather remove one of my lungs with a ballpoint pen. Still, I'm nothing if not perfervidly public-spirited. I will not stand around like Nehru fiddling while Rome burned. Noblesse oblige, that sort of thing.
How We Were
Fred Reed 2005-05-01 16:00
The summer of '62 didn't seem like much at the time. It was just summer. The County of King George was a forested section of Tidewater Virginia, peppered with small farms, and home to watermen who crabbed on the Potomac. To us it was just KG. It was about all we in high school knew. Only later did I realize what we'd had.
Democracy, Birds and Snails
Fred Reed 2005-04-10 16:00
I wonder whether liberal democracies do not follow an ordained trajectory into the muck, ripening like fruits, having their arteries harden, and falling, plop, to be eaten by birds and snails. (That was a two-animal medico-vegetative ballistic metaphor, not so much mixed as homogenized, almost colloidal. Patent applied for.) I note that the English-speaking countries are doing to themselves...
Perfecting Wastrelsy in Messico
Fred Reed 2005-03-13 17:00
Hunter Thompson
Fred Reed 2005-03-03 17:00
When Thompson blew his brains out, a door closed somewhere and you could hear the latch click. The main man had gone. Most of us can easily be replaced. There was only one Hunter Thompson. I'll heist one tonight to a fine, fine writer, a voice of his time, the embodiment of an age the like of which there never was and which, for good or bad, will never come again.
In Search of Men Who Want to Marry Mommy
Fred Reed 2005-02-13 17:00
It is becoming a constant, like gravity: Maureen Dowd opens her mouth, and I get email from guys saying, 'Fred! Geez, man, how much do apartments go for in Guadalajara?' Maureen is the resentment columnist for the New York Times. She serves as newsprint megaphone for the angry, selfish, wretchedly unhappy career woman who can't understand why she is living alone in an apartment with two cats. (I...
Objective Journalism and Hen's Teeth
Fred Reed 2005-01-28 17:00
Fred explains practically everything. I get email from people who say they wish that journalists would engage in objective coverage of the war in Iraq. They are always indignant and often bitter, but they mean opposite things. Those against the war assert that the fascist press is slanted in favor. Those in favor assert that the leftist press is slanted against. All agree that reporters are...
The Last Necessary Column on Politics
Fred Reed 2005-01-06 17:00
In my capacity as Western Civilization's principal moral compass and intellectual lighthouse, I thought I might explain politics once and forever. There are altogether too many television shows about politics, too many books by people who would better pass their time in drinking. Newspapers have gotten above themselves. They are full of columnists. A final explanation of all things political will...
Read Your Newspaper
Fred Reed 2004-12-13 17:00
Whither the competition between the mainstream media and the Internet? It sharpens. The big papers still rule the roost, but they hemorrhage readers and credibility, perhaps more than they know or understand. People move to the web, spend more time online, hold the usual media in decreasing regard. The bright and the young switch effortlessly. Until recently the paper press, in a display of self-...
Wars and Their Aftermath
Fred Reed 2004-12-05 17:00
The observant will have noticed that we hear little from the troops in Iraq and see almost nothing of the wounded. Why, one might wonder, does not CNN put an enlisted Marine before a camera and, for fifteen minutes without editing, let him say what he thinks? Is he not an adult and a citizen? Is he not engaged in important events on our behalf? Sound political reasons exist. Soldiers are a risk...
Be Good, Chillun
Fred Reed 2004-11-21 17:00
I tell you, coming back yearly to the United States is stranger than dwarf-tossing, maybe up there with licking toads. It's like watching something dead that you once cared for decompose in time-lapse photography. The country is in lockdown. I live in Guadalajara a couple of blocks from the US consulate, a fortress. Big concrete stop'em-bombs circle it, disguised as planters. Iron bars spaced a...
Buckshot and Designer Water
Fred Reed 2004-11-11 17:00
I have received thousands of letters (all right, three letters, but I'm rounding up) asking me to explain the election. Bending to the public will, I'll try. The way it looks to me is coastal snots against the heartland. The wine-and-cheese folk against pickups with gun racks. Texas against Massachusetts. Maybe that's too simple, but I'm not going to admit it. I don't have to. I'm writing the...
Reinventing the Bushman
Fred Reed 2004-10-03 16:00
I imagine taking a bushman from some hitherto undiscovered Pacific isle and setting him down in front of a television in, say, Washington. The fellow would be astounded. He might say, 'Whoa, boss! Heap magic! Spirits inside, talk talk. Bad juju.' He would have no idea how the babbling box worked, or of the civilization that produced it'where it came from, why it was as it was, what its literature...
Fredwitz on War
Fred Reed 2004-09-26 16:00
A columnist has a peculiar perspective on things. He sits high above the intellectual plain and has mud flung at him from all sides. He probably deserves it, but that is not my point here. He sees a world in which everyone has the correct answer except himself. He also sees that everyone's correct answer is different from everyone else's. Oh well. There follows an explanation of our invasion of...
Letters About Jews
Fred Reed 2004-08-24 16:00
From time to time I write about the cloacal morality of the media as they go about wrecking civilization and annoying hell out of me. For rhetorical convenience I use 'New York' and 'Hollywood' as a sort of abbreviation for the news racket and the screen trades. This column gets a lot email. Some of it assumes that 'New York' and 'Hollywood' are code words for 'Jews,' and excoriates me mightily...
Pondering the Telescreen
Fred Reed 2004-08-16 16:00
Denunciations of television have become as routine as breathing: the programming is crass, stupid, propagandistic, so bad that only an idiot would watch it yet everybody does. Actually things are worse. They are much worse. To see what is happening, start with what may be the crucial truth of our times: People will watch a screen. They will watch anything in preference to nothing, watch programs...
In Praise of Mexicanas
Fred Reed 2004-08-05 16:00
Living in Mexico as I do, I often hear from North Americans that gringos move to Mexico chiefly for the women. Well, yes. The women are certainly an attraction. Indeed they are. The North American tendency however is to confuse women with sex. American men in the United States usually see Mexican women as LBFMs, 'little brown, er, sex machines,' faceless, indistinguishable, and cheap. So do...
Clueless in Baghdad
Fred Reed 2004-07-28 16:00
Some months ago I returned to my home in Mexico after two weeks of hard touring in Bolivia. It was the kind of travel that at my advanced age I should know better than, but never do: flying into grass strips to boat into the endless swamps of the pampas, freezing in unheated shacks in the wild high desert at 12,000 feet, mountain biking down El Camino de la Muerte out of La Paz next to drop-offs...
This Ain't Fifth-Century Athens
Fred Reed 2004-06-23 16:00
Autumn looms and presidential elections will soon roll around, like droppings pushed by dung beetles. We will be exhorted to vote. Better advice would be not to vote. The proper response toward what we occasionally imagine to be democracy, methinks, is to retain one's self-respect by not participating in it. Voting in particular is an embarrassment, being a public display of weak character and...
It"s Not a Job, It"s an Adventure
Fred Reed 2004-05-03 16:00
Regarding the torture of Iraqi men by the American military as chronicled by the world's press: Janis Karpinski, reportedly a general in the American military, presided over the prison where it happened, and therefore over the torture. To her I want to say: I'm proud of you, Janis. As one who served in the armed forces, as one whose father was in the Pacific in World War II, and spent the rest of...
The Coming Storm
Fred Reed 2004-04-29 16:00
The Bell Curve, an excellent book more maligned than read, pointed out a trend seldom noticed. The authors called it 'cognitive stratification,' not a phrase Byron would have chosen but serviceable enough. It means the concentration of the intelligent. In 1850 people of high intelligence were dispersed through the population. If the child of a cowboy had an IQ of 160, he would probably remain in...
Democracy Explodes Over Iraq
Fred Reed 2004-04-10 16:00
Help me puzzle out Iraq. I'm just a country boy, and don't understand Advanced Thought, or high strategy, or anything else. I admit it. Tell me about Iraq'quick, 'cause it seems to be blowing itself all to flinders, and it's hard to study something the which there ain't no more. Now, as I understand it from the White House itself, it's all because of three diehard Saddamites, two terrorists, and...
Driving Down Unknown Roads
Fred Reed 2004-04-01 16:00
In the United States women are, I think for the first time in history, gaining real power. Often nations have had queens, heiresses, and female aristocrats. These do not amount to much. Today women occupy positions of genuine authority in fields that matter, as for example publishing, journalism, and academia. They control education through high school. Politicians scramble for their votes. They...
Nowhere to Hide
Fred Reed 2004-03-24 17:00
How much do we really want people to obey laws? The question hasn't mattered greatly in the past since there was often no way to enforce laws beyond a certain point. You could enforce speeding laws in front of a school with nearly perfect effectiveness, and you could occasionally catch people speeding on rural roads. Yet compliance was largely discretionary. The lack of inescapable surveillance...
A New American Century
Fred Reed 2004-03-09 17:00
It is possible to become so inured to being told what to do, and how to do it, and who to do it with'to become so accustomed to being told what we can say, what we may publicly believe, what we must seem to think, how we must manage our affairs'that we cease to notice just how regimented we are. We are there. We now accept that very nearly everything whatsoever is the proper domain of government...
Faking It
Fred Reed 2004-01-19 17:00
While the United States is freer and more democratic than many countries, it is not, I think, either as free or as democratic as we are expected to believe, and becomes rapidly less so. Indeed we seem to be specialists in maintaining the appearance without having the substance. Regarding the techniques of which, a few thoughts: (1) Free speech does not exist in America. We all know what we can't...
Crime South of the Rio Bravo
Fred Reed 2003-12-08 17:00
I am sad to report that Mexico is the most criminal of countries. Let me illustrate.
Fooling Around in Laos
Fred Reed 2003-10-26 17:00
Vientiane, Laos' The Mekong flows brown and ugly past the beer stalls and restaurants across the street from the Lane Xian hotel, a slightly decomposing pile but comfortable enough. The country is green, perhaps not hopelessly backward but nearly so, and rattles with motor scooters. The people are small and brown. When female, they are often quite pretty. Westerners are not uncommon: A pretty...
Johnny Can't Add
Fred Reed 2003-07-27 16:00
Maybe we need to wake up. The other day I went to the Web site of Bell Labs, one of the country's premier research outfits. I clicked at random on a research project, Programmable Networks for Tomorrow. The scientists working on the project were Gisli Hjalmstysson, Nikos Anerousis, Pawan Goyal, K. K. Ramakrishnan, Jennifer Rexford, Kobus Van der Merwe, and Sneha Kumar Kasera.
Marriage, Horror and Susan Reimer (Take Horror. It's A Better Bet.)
Fred Reed 2003-07-20 16:00
Were I to offer thoughts on marriage to young American men today, in these the declining years of a once-great civilization, my advice would be as follows: Don't do it. Or, if you do, do it in another country. In America marriage is a grievous error. And why so? Because of The Chip. The Attitude. The bandsaw whine of anger, anger, anger that makes American women an international horror. It's...
The Surveillance State
Fred Reed 2003-07-13 16:00
A looming question: Is today's a'bornin' surveillance state in America an aberration? Or is it the unavoidable future of mankind? A spasm, like Prohibition, the Sixties, McCarthyism? Or an inevitable consequence of technological advance-something that must follow the spread of computers and networking as remorselessly as suburbs and shopping malls followed the automobile? Do we have a choice?
Lie Back and Enjoy It
Fred Reed 2003-07-06 16:00
I-Already-Feel-Safer Department: In the Washington Times I discover that some ditzbunny in the legislature of Annapolis, Maryland, wants to outlaw plastic guns. Yes. She's going to get rid of them rascals. It's because it will end crime.
Ethnic Purgation, Academic Disaster
Fred Reed 2003-06-22 16:00
Oh good. In the Washington Post [1], the trade journal of the coming vacuum, I discover a story on "Whiteness Studies." These, at what used to be the University of Massachusetts, are yet more un-courses that grow like mold on the wreckage of American education. They endeavor to make white students ashamed of being white. How useful.
Dwarf Abuse
Fred Reed 2003-06-15 16:00
I'm going to fill a dark awful basement with radioactive cockroaches. Yep. Big nasty ones like skateboards on legs, that go click-click-click when they walk. And maybe poisonous. I'm going to starve them for a week. Then I'm going to catch all the coercive priss-spigots in the world, the ones that want to ban second-hand smoke and dwarf-tossing and beer. I'll smear the rascals with bacon fat, so...
Adolph, Heinz and Poland
Fred Reed 2003-06-08 16:00
In my daily snowstorm of email I find furious appeals to patriotism, usually addressed to large lists of recipients. The writers invoke The Founding Fathers, urge fealty, and counsel solidarity with all the whoop and holler of a camp meeting. I'm puzzled. Why is patriotism thought to be a virtue? It seems to me a scourge.
Other and Different Worlds
Fred Reed 2003-06-01 16:00
Expatriates. You see them in back-street bars of Bangkok, Manila, Guadalajara, along third-world waterfronts, in up-country Thailand, anywhere living is cheap and rules scarce.
Achieving Bovocracy
Fred Reed 2003-05-18 16:00
The Supreme Court, our unelected and irrefutable legislature of nine, now ponders, or pretends to ponder, the legitimacy of racial discrimination in collegiate admissions. Oh good. One assumes of course that, with unrebuttable presumptuousness, they will merely dress their prejudices in constitutional-sounding awkward English. Still: What is one to make of racial preferences? First, some de-...
Columnist at Work
Fred Reed 2003-05-11 16:00
Nine-thirty a.m., hunched over the computer in a friend's bachelor pit in Washington. Surrounded by dirty clothes like nesting material for a Norwegian rat. Cup of coffee you could degrease an engine block with. Stack of grocery-store tabloids: The National Enquirer, The Star, The World Weekly News. I'm preparing to mine the nether regions of the American zeitgeist as soon as I have a pulse.
Fred Reed 2003-04-27 16:00
Sometimes a writer craves to bare his soul and lighten his burden of hidden sin--yes, to admit that he hasn't always lived as a Christian, that he has played cards in low dives, and done shameful things with floozies in foreign ports. He wants to make a clean breast of it before the world, to say, "There. You see me in all my sordid sorrow and moral wretchedness. Forgive me if you can." Well, I'm...
The Problem of Copyright
Fred Reed 2003-04-06 16:00
"Copyright piracy," meaning the digital copying of music and movies and, sooner or later, books, is a legal problem that hasn't gone away. The implications are huge. The music industry loses large amounts of money on music shared across the internet. It consequently pushes the adoption of totalitarian controls, which are the only kind that could work. In fact companies that lose money on...
Doing What We Can't Help Doing
Fred Reed 2003-03-24 17:00
Wars, like the political eruptions of teenagers, groan under the weight of moral justification: We are fighting to protect ourselves, protect democracy, establish democracy, end atrocities, avenge former mistreatment, dissuade dictators. We have to save something from something or for something. If we don't fight, this boogie or that boogie will take over the world.
Worlds and Worlds
Fred Reed 2003-03-09 17:00
Last year I dove for a week on a live-aboard dive boat, the Caribbean Explorer. She's big and sleek, out of St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles, set up for luxurious diving with compressors, diving stations and a superb crew. She runs at night from dive site to dive site while the divers sleep. You eat, dive, off-gas on the sundeck, and dive again. Capitol Divers, my raffish semi-cowboy dive...
Fred Reed 2003-02-16 17:00
Wars are seductive as women in the night. Past midnight in February of 1967 we stood, the platoon and I, on the flight line at El Toro Marine Air Station, gateway to Asia. On the tarmac big jets howled and moaned. The smell of burned jet fuel blew in the Pacific breeze. We felt the exhilaration of being part of something huge moving in the darkness, of going to the action, of leaving the mundane...